“Empower the user — product design assumptions for boomers and seniors”

Just read a post by Laurie Orlov (Aging in Place Technology Watch: ageinplacetech.com) and I wanted to share it here:

http://www.ageinplacetech.com/blog/empower-user-product-design-assumptions-boomers-and-seniors

Here are my thoughts…what do you think???

I am torn on this issue. I do believe that this is going to happen. I’m not entirely convinced that it is happening currently. At GrandCare, we offer ADL&Wellness monitoring ONLY along with a TV-based communication station OR the all-in-one interactive touchcomputer that provides all the benefits of the Internet on a touchpanel with a touchkeyboard – just no mouse (touchscreen). I do believe that as time goes on, our “seniors” are going to be more savvy, expect more, want to use more, want to feel empowered, etc.

This whole thing really depends on who we are talking about. There is obviously a huge difference between 65, 75 and 95. For our younger customers – the ones who really are choosing to “age responsibly”, they are not choosing to ditch their computers to use GrandCare. They don’t have to! They can use both and enjoy them for different reasons. I have a GrandCare System in my house. Why? To monitor various things, when the dog was let out, monitor the in-home temp, keep track of my weight/BP, and of course to see the montage of pictures, videos, etc on the touchscreen. My kids love it, it’s a conversation piece and fun to watch. I do have older customers that you couldn’t convince to use the touchscreen. It’s not comfortable for them and we don’t force it! They can simply watch the channel on the TV with the slideshow of information.

The important thing is they need to feel connected to society – all of these solutions help to do that in one way or another. They need to feel empowered – now if that just means being able to stay home, or being able to use the touchscreen or being able to have a pic of the grandchild on presto that they can bring along to the senior center… It really doesn’t matter HOW they get the information. It only matters if they are comfortable with it, feel involved, feel in control and of course feel happiness overall!

I do appreciate this article, though, because even though I agree with many of Peter’s comments, I think this issue is an important one to remember. Even in 2 years time, this will be even more relevant. As our boomers turn into seniors, that’s a HUGE shift in thinking.

And I don’t mind being continually reminded who we are serving and making sure we/our organization stays on target!

thanks Laurie & Peter(s) for another interesting and insightful conversation!

Laura Mitchell
GrandCare Systems
www.grandcare.com

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